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Social Metaphysics

This is an open discussion topic for social metaphysics issues. Below is a conversation log which you can use as an optional conversation starter. It'll give you some leads on issues you might want to talk about.

StEmperorAugustine:
This one is Think Club. They look similar. https://youtu.be/bDTp4yg3XTk?t=396

StEmperorAugustine:
I like this retired Fighter Pilot. Seems to value reason more than most ppl I've seen on this.

curi:
is there something you dislike about reading?

StEmperorAugustine:
I like reading. Why did you say I dislike it?

curi:
why watch a debate like that over reading?

StEmperorAugustine:
over reading what specifically? I like reading and watching debates both. Not one over the other. What I like about debates is watching how people come to hold certain opinions and how they engage in trying to convince the other, or defend their reasoning. Reading I do more if I want to really understand a concept better in more detail.

Justin:
https://fallibleideas.com/books

curi:
You could read more. It is a choice you're making. And there are written debates which are better organized, give more info in a clearer way, e.g. the FI archives.

StEmperorAugustine:
Ty Justin. That reading list is what I am working on already plus some others. Starting with that list tho

StEmperorAugustine:
Reading takes more effort

StEmperorAugustine:
sometimes If I feel like relaxing I watch these debates

curi:
So the answer to the question "is there something you dislike about reading?" is "yes"

StEmperorAugustine:
I like it until I am to tired. I don't want to be misleading by saying I dislike it. I really like it. I like playing soccer but eventually I get too tired to continue.

curi:
you're not being very logical

curi:
you're confusing dislike something about reading with disliking reading.

StEmperorAugustine:
oh no. Where did I mess up?

StEmperorAugustine:
aaaah

StEmperorAugustine:
yes

StEmperorAugustine:
Parts of reading that I might dislike

StEmperorAugustine:
but not as a whole

StEmperorAugustine:
hmm. I don't really see getting tired after a while as the same as disliking it

curi:
you see reading as harder (higher effort) which is a downside which is a problem sometimes

curi:
audio books and text to speech allow you to read by listening. would that solve the problem of making it more relaxing like listening to a video?

StEmperorAugustine:
I have tried it, It helps but it still takes effort to think about the concepts being presented, and I do tire eventually too

StEmperorAugustine:
tho I am getting a bit better at sticking with it longer

curi:
doesn't following a debate take effort? those verbal debates are harder to follow than most books, IMO, because they're poorly organized and inconclusive (lots of loose ends to remember like a list of points that weren't answered).

NikLuk:
I do audiobooks the most. It can be combined with another activity. I like walking outdoors - that is easy to combine with audiobooks.

The negative with this combo is sometimes I get distracted and have to rewind some. I do not think audiobooks on new content are as good as actually reading the same thing, as I tend to miss more listening. On the plus side is I can work through the material faster.

curi:
the debates also lack editing. books are edited to take unclear or confusing parts and make them easier to understand.

curi:
with FI debates, you can easily reread context to check things to help you follow it. with YT debates that's hard.

NikLuk:
Re debates I think most of the time people just talk by each-other and avoid addressing the harder questions.

StEmperorAugustine:
What you're saying makes sense. books should be easier to understand due to editing. It still take more effort to me than to just sit back and enjoy a debate.

curi:
the standard reason for that is people watch debates socially. what they like about it is the social interaction, which is easier for them to follow than the intellectual stuff.

StEmperorAugustine:
so possibly what I enjoy about them is not the ideas presented but how they are presented and their interactions with the other guy

curi:
Adam Friended's body language and voice tones tell a story, a narrative, all by themselves without even listening to any of the words.

StEmperorAugustine:
Yes there's a lot of useful knowledge in just facial expression, body language and tone of voice

curi:
i didn't mean it's useful. i think it's an irrational way of bypassing which arguments are good to manipulate audiences.

curi:
voice tones are not arguments and can be done regardless of whether what you're claiming is true or false

curi:
it's not truth seeking

StEmperorAugustine:
What about useful in the sense of learning to be more persuasive when talking to other people

curi:
by persuasive you mean manipulating them b/c they are persuaded by things other than truth?

Justin:
Social persuasion is not rational persuasion

StEmperorAugustine:
not as a replacement for having true arguements but as a supplement

curi:
so e.g. if you get a more fashionable haircut, ppl listen more? that's irrational and it's pandering to their bad ideas.

StEmperorAugustine:
I think presenting yourself in a certain manner matters. Idk if it is manipulation, maybe in the sense that it might make the other person more receptive to what you have to say, and actually listen

Justin:
What about big tits as a supplement to arguments

StEmperorAugustine:
I think those signal something entirely different than what I had in mind

Justin:
Might make ppl listen more tho

StEmperorAugustine:
Honeslty they probably would listen less

curi:
looking smart and being smart are different things. if you try to look smart, you're playing into ppl's prejudices instead of focusing on truth.

StEmperorAugustine:
what about looking and being smart. Though "looking smart" is also not what I have in mind.

curi:
what's the upside there?

NikLuk:
Does the context not matter here? Say you're in advertising. Using more social would be beneficial, no? Was Jobs not good at the extra stuff making the releases more interesting for many people?

curi:
if ppl like non-arguments, they're wrong. if you want the practical result of more fans, it can work. if you want the truth, it's not helping.

curi:
advertising isn't truth seeking.

StEmperorAugustine:
Let's say I am making argument P. I can state argument P while being nervous, and looking messy, and mumbling etc.. Or I can make statement P with a good projected voice, a good sense of style, and clearly and confidently. The truth of P matter but how you deliver it does matter too. Like in a Job interview

Justin:
Matter for what

curi:
whether P or true or false is 100% separate from whether you looked messy when you said it.

NikLuk:

advertising isn't truth seeking.
Ok. Missed it was only about truth seeking. My bad.

StEmperorAugustine:
yes I am not arguing against that

curi:
so if ppl are focusing any attention on those things, it's bad, it's a distraction from the issues

curi:
it means less thought goes into what's true

StEmperorAugustine:
yes they are getting distracted from P which is what matters.

curi:
so it's bad to encourage that kind of thing, or to like that kind of thing, if the truth is what you value.

StEmperorAugustine:
if P is true regardless. Why is it not objectively better to present it properly and confidently?

curi:
who sounds confident or looks fashionable is a contest, a competition. the winners of that competition may have shitty ideas which then spread.

StEmperorAugustine:
not if the idea is the same

StEmperorAugustine:
in that scenario P is the statement that is true

curi:
the ppl who are best at sounding confident are not the ppl with the best ideas.

StEmperorAugustine:
ok but that's a different argument

curi:
if you have a good idea and also participate in that contest, you may be outcompeted at social stuff by someone with a worse idea. happens all the time.

StEmperorAugustine:
yes that can happen

curi:
competing at social stuff takes a ton of effort. it's a huge distraction. b/c that area is very competitive.

StEmperorAugustine:
well I am not arguing for competing at social stuff. Just at learning proper presentation. Only as secondary as presenting a proper idea.

curi:
and if you play that game, audiences spend some of their time not thinking about your argument, so fewer of them understanding what you said.

StEmperorAugustine:
secondary to*

curi:
what is proper and why is that proper?

StEmperorAugustine:
that I don't know

StEmperorAugustine:
being clear is proper vs mumbling

curi:
the way it actually works is there's no limit where you're good enough and you're done

StEmperorAugustine:
looking at your shoes vs at the audience

StEmperorAugustine:
that kind of thing

curi:
you can get to the 50th percentile or the 70th percentile at skill, or the 99th, and you can still climb higher socially

StEmperorAugustine:
I suppose you could but that's not really what I am arguing for.

curi:
there's nowhere to draw the line

StEmperorAugustine:
The line may be arbitrary but reality kind of imposes on you

curi:
there's no principle that says a certain skill at eye contact is important, but a higher skill at eye contact doesn't matter.

curi:
not reality. other people, and specifically the dumber ones, who you don't have to suck up to.

StEmperorAugustine:
there's so much time in the day, and you spend it building your argument. Once it is built then you can improve at presentation,

curi:
time is a scarce resource

StEmperorAugustine:
Indeed.

curi:
you could always put more time into truth seeking. any time on presentation is lost.

StEmperorAugustine:
I suppose it depends on the context too

Justin:
Augustine if you read FH u might have better understanding of FI view on social stuff

StEmperorAugustine:
Wouldn't your argument then depend on everyone having read FH then Justin?

curi:
you're changing topics a lot

StEmperorAugustine:
If I am presenting an idea and show up all disheveled, mumbled nervously through it, look at the shoes. Maybe the people who read FH are like right on. but somehow I doubt it

curi:
if your goal is truth seeking, what to do does not depend on how many audience members understand social dynamics rationally.

StEmperorAugustine:
that still doesn't tell me why presenting true argument P poorly is preferable than presenting it well. I mean presenting it as stating it in front of someone else or others.

curi:
https://youtu.be/bDTp4yg3XTk?t=3236 there are some examples here within 30s. e.g. Adam says "valuable" in a voice tone, does a shrug and does a voice tone at the end of the section right b4 the other guy talks again. those are just some of the more blatant ones.

curi:
Adam spends more than 50% of his mental effort, during a discussion, on thinking about (mostly subconsciously) what would impress dumb viewers, how to manipulate them, how to pander, etc. This gets more effort than his argument quality.

curi:
This is typical.

StEmperorAugustine:
The first thing people see is neither your personality nor your argument. A good first impression makes a difference. I agree that you should work on making argument P as strong as possible and that should be your focus. Then maybe you can put some effort in presentation. I still don't see the downside, but I do see the upsides. Could even be split 90% argument 10% presentation or move the dials there as needed.

Justin:
Augustine would you disregard someone's argument on some point if they didn't make eye contact etc?

StEmperorAugustine:
Depends on their argument

Justin:
!

curi:
Taking 10% of your effort away from truth is a downside.

curi:
Making eye contact in the socially normal way (an example Aug has given several times) takes a huge amount of effort. This effort is not recognized because the learning time and costs are mostly in early childhood. However, some people don't learn it then, are called "autistic", and are persecuted quite cruelly and extensively. The way people learn it in childhood is by learning to care more about how others think of them than about reality. It's part of a process where they learn not to prioritize truth, that they will be punished for not fitting in and need to prioritize that instead.

StEmperorAugustine:
But what if the truth of argument P is very important. Let's say if people adopted P the world would be a better place. Why would you not want more people to adopt P?

StEmperorAugustine:
Knowing that many do not hold your view on presentation

StEmperorAugustine:
and will judge based on that

curi:
People learn the "proper" way to do eye contact by learning to pay very close attention to the reactions they get from other people and then changing whenever they get negative reactions, and keep making changes until they get it right and get approval. This takes a huge amount of time and effort and the mentality is broadly incompatible with e.g. scientific thinking.

curi:
Aug you keep changing topics, we can't discuss everything at once.

StEmperorAugustine:
I have to go but once again I'd like to continue later.

StEmperorAugustine:
:slight_smile:

StEmperorAugustine:
ttyl

curi:
The things you're saying are everywhere but lots of ppl won't admit or say them in an intellectual context. They lie about how rational they are.

curi:
They're really bad though, but pretending not to think them just makes it harder to change.

curi:
One of the practical effects is ppl spend a lot of time engaging with lower quality material (in terms of ideas and truth seeking) b/c they want to watch ppl compete socially.

curi:
So they learn less.

curi:
ppl seek out material with e.g. facecam b/c they don't even know how to judge what's true, only how to judge social stuff.

StEmperorAugustine:
I've been thinking a bit about our discussion.

It is possible that we may be talking about two different things so I'll try to restate my position.

I agree that truth seeking is important, and that in an ideal world (even then I am not so sure that would be ideal) people would not care about how a message is delivered. But that is not how the world works.

People care about how the message is delivered as much as the message itself. For example, Jordan Peterson sells out large auditoriums in hundreds of cities around the globe. A lot of what he says is quite good, some is okay, other is standard self help stuff that people already know. But he is able to reach a large audience because he is a good speaker.

Another example, Job interviews. Most people get hired based on a 1on1 interview. They already have seen your resume, what they are looking for is how you present yourself. Are you someone they would be okay working with or talking to their customers.

It may be different for you because your job is to write philosophy articles. So you do not need to have charm perhaps. Although, even with philosophy articles you do have to worry about your presentation. Your website has to be readable, easy to navigate. Your sentences need to be clear and follow grammar rules to eliminate confusion.

All in all I think context matters. And as I said yesterday, if statement P is true. I would prefer that statement P is presented in a clear, unambigious, confident manner.


Elliot Temple on November 8, 2019

Comments (42)

@StEmperorAugustine those comments are mixing together multiple issues, e.g. how to get many people in our culture today to treat you certain ways and how to seek the truth.

And it incorrectly treats fitting in or presenting yourself well or that kinda thing as a fixed bar: do X amount of it and you're done, good enough. It's a competition and you're never done, can never rest, because there are always people competing with you to do it even better.

If your goal is to plant a field, it takes a fixed amount of effort, e.g. 100 hours of labor. If your goal is to get popular like Jordan Peterson, it takes ongoing effort to compete with other people who are putting creativity into being more charismatic than you, better looking, speaking in ways that better manipulate the audience, etc.

If it was a big but finite distraction from truth seeking, that'd be bad enough but more manageable. But what happens is people find going from 20% of their effort to the social competition to 30% means they get more fans, and then going up to 40% means even more fans, and there is nowhere that it stops. They just keep competing all the way up to 100% – at which point their content is all chosen for social reasons not truth reasons (there are social requirements to have some content, not just charm, but the content is optimized socially instead of for truth).

Some people are like "fuck that" and won't play that game up to 100% social orientation. Most of them are posturing because they gave up on winning so they claim to object to the game and its rules, but if they could win they would want to. The same as the "unpopular kids" in school mostly would prefer to be popular kids if they knew how, and their complaints about what's bad about the popular kids are mostly pretty dishonest (since they're only complaining due to lack of success and access, it's not principled).

To understand this it's necessary to see in more detail what these people do and how optimized it is in detail at all times. It's not just putting on OK clothes and making some eye contact. It's talking in ways (word choices, sentence constructions) that sound smart but reduce clarity. It's talking in voice tones that people think sound smart and optimizing what you say to have good spots in the sentences to do voice tones, the sentences need to flow the right way to enable the voice tones. It's knowing when to make a gesture and *not* explain something, so the audience doesn't have to think about it and will pretend they got it even though they didn't. It's knowing a million ways that social rules are idiosyncratic, stupid nonsense, contradictory, etc., and what to do with all those tiny, unprincipled details.

People put on social performances all the time, it consumes most of their thought, and they put most of their effort into paying attention to social reactions. If you can understand human interaction and see what's going on, it'll change your perspective and how OK it is or isn't. Lots of it is saying things to trigger static meme reactions. Lots is lying.

Here's one tiny example: https://curi.us/2167-analyzing-how-culture-manipulates-you-by-pulling-your-puppet-strings

When people talk in general, it's like 9 sentences worth of information in the social world per 1 sentence on information in the truth-seeking, reality-oriented world.


curi at 1:01 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14237 | reply | quote

> And it incorrectly treats fitting in or presenting yourself well or that kinda thing as a fixed bar: do X amount of it and you're done, good enough. It's a competition and you're never done, can never rest, because there are always people competing with you to do it even better.

Sure you could spend your time doing better in that realm if you so wish. but you don't have to. Like driving, most people get "good enough" at it to go on with their lives. Presenting your self well is an important skill to develop. How much time you spend on that will depend largely on context.

> If your goal is to plant a field, it takes a fixed amount of effort, e.g. 100 hours of labor. If your goal is to get popular like Jordan Peterson, it takes ongoing effort to compete with other people who are putting creativity into being more charismatic than you, better looking, speaking in ways that better manipulate the audience, etc.

I don't quite agree with this. Being charismatic is only part of it. Peterson also has an important message that he has worked on for several years to convey. As I said before I do think that truth seeking is important, but if you want to present your idea you have to do it in the best light.

If we lived in a world full of curis who do not care how an idea is presented. Though I suspect to some level you do, the little I know about the characters on your favorite novels, they also present themselves in a certain way. Which you happen to admire.

But for a moment let's assume you don't. If we lived in a world full of curis then it would make sense to **Not** practice presentation skills. And learn how to be charming and dress well etc...

But we do not live in a world full of curis and thus these skills are important to learn.

I would say that one could work to be proficient "enough" at presentation. And then spend more of his time getting better at truth-seeking. I see it as learning to drive good enough to get you to your real destination.


Augustine at 1:23 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14239 | reply | quote

Jordan Peterson is an incompetent liar and fraud re scientific issues because he's focused on social instead of truth. His 12 Rules books is full of cites, not because they are intellectually useful or true, but to fool and impress fools. It's hard enough to be a decent (social) scientist if you focus on it. He might have failed anyway but now he's failed by a mile and he's popular anyway because his popularity is independent of actually being right about the factual claims he makes and dishonestly-but-socially-congruently claims to have the expertise and authority to make.

If you learned to consciously see what was going on when people talk, to understand all the social stuff they are doing and be able to put it into words, it would change your perspective.


curi at 1:36 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14242 | reply | quote

If what you're saying about Jordan Peterson is true, then it makes my case even stronger. If he is as bad and incompetent as you claim he is, and has reached millions of people. It goes to show how important presentation skills are.

I go back to my argument. If statement P is true. I see nothing wrong with learning to present statement P in the best possible light. Without making P untrue.

If statement P is really important and true. And if more people adopted view P, then it makes sense to give P a better chance of being adopted by learning presenting skills. In a proficient enough manner. Again, without taking away from P itself.


Augustine at 1:43 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14243 | reply | quote

Error correction: "and If more peopled adopted view P..." Should be: "and if more people adopted view P, the world would be a better place, then it makes sense to give P a better chance of being adopted by learning presenting skills."


Augustine at 1:46 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14244 | reply | quote

> If what you're saying about Jordan Peterson is true, then it makes my case even stronger. If he is as bad and incompetent as you claim he is, and has reached millions of people. It goes to show how important presentation skills are.

It depends on your goal.

If your goal is to find the truth, this is making things much worse. If your goal is to make money while being a sort of snake oil salesmen, then presentation skills are very important.

> I see nothing wrong with learning to present statement P in the best possible light. Without making P untrue.

The social rules of our society commonly require changing P to be untrue in some ways to present it in the best possible light.

The social rules require so much effort it substantially detracts from figuring out what's true.

If you knew what presenting P in the best possible light entailed – what that consists of, in detail, in words – you would change your mind. The key here is to actually analyze social behavior and figure out what's going on before you come to a judgment about it.


curi at 1:47 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14245 | reply | quote

It seems that you're claiming that it is impossible to make a statement true *and* present it well. Either tell the truth or be a snake oil salesman. (which seems a bit harsh toward Peterson as he doesn't strike me like he's deceitful but mistaken)

Is that correct?


Augustine at 2:00 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14246 | reply | quote

> It seems that you're claiming that it is impossible to make a statement true *and* present it well.

You can present some true idea *well* in terms of stuff that's helpful for truth-seeking. The criteria for that are stuff like stating your ideas in a clear and organized way, addressing potential objections, and discussing examples.

Presenting some true idea to some standard of being socially calibrated and charismatic (which is what I guess you may mean by "well") is possible. But it has drawbacks like adding non-truth-seeking overhead and attracting viewers just based on the social stuff.

It's kinda like: can you talk about FI on YouTube while spinning plates? Sure, but why? If you want to do FI focus on that. If you want to do plate spinning focus on that. FI is hard enough to do well without adding unrelated distractions.

It's true you might get a few more viewers cuz of the plate spinning, but then FI won't be why they're really there. And you won't be an impressive plate spinner unless you really focus on it, which will hurt your FI-related time and attention.


Medium J at 2:47 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14247 | reply | quote

#14246

> (which seems a bit harsh toward Peterson as he doesn't strike me like he's deceitful but mistaken)

The way he strikes you is based on his *social skill*, **not** his honesty or rationality.

> It seems that you're claiming that it is impossible to make a statement true *and* present it well.

There are many large clashes between the pursuit of truth and being socially skilled/impressive/etc.


curi at 2:50 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14248 | reply | quote

> The way he strikes you is based on his *social skill*, **not** his honesty or rationality.

Not at all. But debating the merits of Jordan Peterson might be best left for another time.

> There are many large clashes between the pursuit of truth and being socially skilled/impressive/etc.

Yes, there are clashes between the two but then *is* possible to make a statement true and present it well.

Do you agree that certain skills such as learning to ride a bike or learning to drive, *could* be improved indefinitely but *most* people are able to learn to drive just well enough to get them to a destination?

If so, Why would learning presenting skills "just well enough" is also not possible?


Augustine at 4:34 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14259 | reply | quote

#14247 If you're Justin, just like your big tits example, this is also irrelevant,

> It's kinda like: can you talk about FI on YouTube while spinning plates?

Is also not relevant to presenting skills. I never said start a performance of an unrelated skill while you're presenting an idea.

I said to present an idea, clearly, without mumbling, with good intonation, and presented yourself in a clean manner.

#14247 If you're Justin, just like your big tits example this,

> It's kinda like: can you talk about FI on YouTube while spinning plates?

It is also not relevant to presenting skills. I never said start performance of an unrelated skill while you're presenting an idea.

I said to present an idea, clearly, without mumbling, with good intonation and cleanly presented yourself.


Augustine at 4:38 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14260 | reply | quote

Ooops forgot to delete the bottom 1st draft.


Augustine at 4:40 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14261 | reply | quote

> Do you agree that certain skills such as learning to ride a bike or learning to drive, *could* be improved indefinitely but *most* people are able to learn to drive just well enough to get them to a destination?

Yes. Getting to a destination is not a competition.

> If so, Why would learning presenting skills "just well enough" is also not possible?

Because e.g. if 50,000,000 people want a job with 500 open slots, being able to do the job just well enough doesn't mean you'll get a slot. Someone who is better than that will get the job instead.

Repeating what you haven't engaged with: I think if you knew what was going on when people talk – word by word, gesture by gesture, tone by tone – if you could understand what they were doing, you'd reach a different judgment about it. You're trying to reach conclusions in advance of understanding the issues you're concluding about. You need to start looking at what these people do, and why, and what it means, before judging.

One of the ways to start learning this, besides looking at my existing material on the subject, which I already linked some of, is to consider something less subtle than JBP. Like the meaning of the words lyrics (not even tones and gestures of the singer, which is harder to analyze in words, just start with the words that make up the lyrics):

https://www.lyricsmania.com/go_the_distance_lyrics_disney.html

What do you think of the ideas in those lyrics? And do you think that's something you could analyze successfully without missing much?


curi at 5:01 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14263 | reply | quote

BTW I think this topic is really important, it's one of the larger things affecting what the world is like. And almost no one will even try to talk about it. And when they do, mostly they lie – most people think something similar to Augustine but won't admit it in debate, instead they say that of course they think ideas should be judged based just on the idea not the charisma of the speaker, obviously that's rational and they are on the side of reason. But most people saying that are actually more like Augustine than they are like me, and saying that shuts down discussion of the disagreements.

So I appreciate discussing it.

Also, this is a big topic. Lots to know, learn, analyze. I find people sometimes expect stuff like this to be a simple, quick, easy topic, and having the wrong expectations gets in the way of discussion.


curi at 5:05 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14264 | reply | quote

Side note but related: I agree that there are people who are not interested in presenting true arguments but only interested in manipulation. That is not something I am arguing against.

I am arguing that knowing that many if not *most* people judge an idea not solely on its merit but also on the charisma of the speakers. I think we agree on this.

What I am arguing for is that I think it is important to learn that charisma, at least well enough to give your ideas a good chance of being heard. I also suspect that learning these things would make me better at spotting them when someone is trying to use them against me.

>Repeating what you haven't engaged with: I think if you knew what was going on when people talk – word by word, gesture by gesture, tone by tone – if you could understand what they were doing, you'd reach a different judgment about it.

I don't think I disagree with this.

> You're trying to reach conclusions in advance of understanding the issues you're concluding about. You need to start looking at what these people do, and why, and what it means, before judging.

I am working with the idea, which btw you taught me, that anyone can learn any skill provided they approach it rationally and make effort

So if it is possible to present true statement *and* present them well I see no reason why not reach a minimum proficient level of charisma and then entirely focus on truth seeking after that.

I think this can be said of writing too. I think that writing should be as clear and precise as possible. So that your ideas can be presented with as little confusion as possible. This too of course can be abused, and people can probably learn to write meaningless nonsense but do it in a fancy way or something.

> https://www.lyricsmania.com/go_the_distance_lyrics_disney.html

> What do you think of the ideas in those lyrics? And do you think that's something you could analyze successfully without missing much?

I could give it a shot and I suspect I would miss much.

But how does this relate to whether learning to present a true statement P and learning to present it well is possible and desirable? I don't think you would get convinced if I were to present a perfect analysis of it.

Before I attempt it, could you tell me why you brought it up?

>BTW I think this topic is really important, it's one of the larger things affecting what the world is like. And almost no one will even try to talk about it. And when they do, mostly they lie – most people think something similar to Augustine but won't admit it in debate, instead they say that of course they think ideas should be judged based just on the idea not the charisma of the speaker, obviously that's rational and they are on the side of reason. But most people saying that are actually more like Augustine than they are like me, and saying that shuts down discussion of the disagreements.

>So I appreciate discussing it.

Always happy to. These discussions always teach me a lot. I agree that it is important too.

> Also, this is a big topic. Lots to know, learn, analyze. I find people sometimes expect stuff like this to be a simple, quick, easy topic, and having the wrong expectations gets in the way of discussion.

Yes, I suspect there are many facets to this, I don't expect it to be easy and I don't mind pursuing this topic independent of how long it takes.


Augustine at 5:48 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14265 | reply | quote

> Before I attempt it, could you tell me why you brought it up?

I said why I brought it up:

> One of the ways to start learning this [...] is to consider something less subtle than JBP.

---

> I think this can be said of writing too. I think that writing should be as clear and precise as possible.

Social rules, for both writing and speaking, demand making certain points less clear. Some bluntness is socially impermissible even if it's true.

Many good ideas cannot be said without either making the idea less good or violating our culture's social rules. Many social rules, including ones about what is considered charismatic, are irrational and in direct conflict with truth, reason, etc.

And you shouldn't be focusing on what is theoretically possible, you should focus on what's realistic. E.g. what could you do if you were a million times more knowledgeable and skilled than any living human? That's not relevant. Making your life harder, putting extra obstacles in the way, matters even if they don't make success literally impossible. They raise the chance of failure and they take resources away from good things. E.g. some people spend over 10,000 hours on hairstyle and makeup. That means giving up doing something else, e.g. learning physics or learning economics. That big cost in time makes a big, negative difference in life, whether or not it actually contradicts good philosophy (which I think it does).


curi at 6:08 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14266 | reply | quote

> Social rules, for both writing and speaking, demand making certain points less clear.

What social rule demands points to be made less clear?

> And you shouldn't be focusing on what is theoretically possible, you should focus on what's realistic.

I thought I was with E.g. assuming that *most* people are not like you and do focus on other things besides the substance of an idea.

Maybe you mean I am being unrealistic in learning how to public speak. I don't think it is that hard and I am already okay at public speaking. I don't think I am assuming unrealistic goals.


Augustine at 7:23 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14267 | reply | quote

> What social rule demands points to be made less clear?

They mostly don't have names. An example is you're often supposed to say "I think" or some other hedge. I don't want to discuss an example of that first because it's too subtle and complicated. The Disney song is easier to analyze and is a better thing to try. You have to work your way up to analyze really subtle, complex human action.


curi at 7:43 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14268 | reply | quote

A said:

> What I am arguing for is that I think it is important to learn that charisma, at least well enough to give your ideas a good chance of being heard.

If P is true. What extra people would it help persuade of it being true if it was presented with extra added charisma? The ones who do _understand_ P, or the ones who do not understand P but instead seek to attach themselves to a charismatic person (or something similar to this)?

How does added charisma help in truth seeking? It does not make something more true. It will _only_ add people who did not understand P but liked the charisma instead.


N at 9:41 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14270 | reply | quote

>A said:

>> What I am arguing for is that I think it is important to learn that charisma, at least well enough to give your ideas a good chance of being heard.

>If P is true. What extra people would it help persuade of it being true if it was presented with extra added charisma? The ones who do _understand_ P, or the ones who do not understand P but instead seek to attach themselves to a charismatic person (or something similar to this)?

You're assuming that either a person hears P and accepts it or a person cares about the presenter independent of P. I don't agree with this dichotomy.

Many people might not give someone the time of day if he presents his idea without any confidence. Some people might think, "if he doesn't beleive in his own idea, why would I give him the time of day."

There is a reason why first impression matters, but you don't have to get stuck on that first impression (for good or for bad).

As I said before, maybe in a world full of curis someone can walk into a stage in their pajamas with their belly hanging out, and mumble through a speech while staring at the floor and everyone would care what he has to say solely on the message.

But that's just now how the world works.

>How does added charisma help in truth seeking? It does not make something more true. It will _only_ add people who did not understand P but liked the charisma instead.

I never said charisma helps with truth seeking. I was very clear to make truth seeking and presenting a truth as seperate things.

I did not claim that being charismatic makes something truer.


Augustine at 10:43 PM on November 9, 2019 | #14271 | reply | quote

> Many people might not give someone the time of day if he presents his idea without any confidence. Some people might think, "if he doesn't beleive in his own idea, why would I give him the time of day."

Does this imply first looking at social skills and if those are deemed sufficient enough *only then* bother with the argument?

If so, is that a rational truth seeking approach?

To me this looks like something like *appeal to authority* (the authority in this case being social skill).

I want to make clear that I do not argue against social having a bigger reach in today's society.

>> How does added charisma help in truth seeking? It does not make something more true. It will _only_ add people who did not understand P but liked the charisma instead.

> I never said charisma helps with truth seeking. I was very clear to make truth seeking and presenting a truth as seperate things.

I was unclear and sloppy. I was referring to the rational truth seeking part of the reader / listener / audience, not the presenter of P, with this comment.

What is the reason that the audience is there in the first place? Is it rational truth seeking? Is it enjoyment of listening to people presenting stuff? Are they coerced to be there (e.g. school)? Is it something else?

> I did not claim that being charismatic makes something truer.

True. I am trying to understand what you think charisma adds. I think you are saying that charisma adds reach. Is that correct?

Do you think it adds something more than reach?

Btw: I am assuming that you are *not* talking about a lack of being able to present P with solid logical steps and arguments, but rather that you mean that one does it socially awkwardly.

I do think that one needs to be able to present P so that it can be understood step by step.

If this is a misunderstanding from my part, do tell me.

Side note and open question:

I charisma only a form of pandering?


N at 12:28 AM on November 10, 2019 | #14273 | reply | quote

> mumble through a speech while staring at the floor

You're mixing social-only and functional issues. This makes discussion positions less clear. Mumbling means it's hard to hear the words being said. Staring at the floor can mean not pointing your mouth towards the mic, and therefore also being hard to hear, but it depends on setup.


Anonymous at 10:46 AM on November 10, 2019 | #14274 | reply | quote

Reaching a larger audience using charisma has downsides. Reaching lower quality people makes it harder to interact productively with your audience. It makes it Q&As harder, forums harder, debating anyone interested harder, etc. It also reduces the quality of interactions (like discussions) among audience members. It means e.g. if someone googles blog posts with commentary on your work, they will find lower quality stuff on average. And many charisma-increasing actions look bad to some of the best people.

After winning the Nobel prize, Richard Feynman got lots of non-physicists at his public lectures. Then if he talked advanced physics (like he wanted to), they wouldn't understand and would have a bad time. This was a problem for him caused by social prestige. (He complained that he got the prize without his consent; he had no opportunity to decline it privately.)

And say you get a bigger audience with charisma. Then someone wants to debate you. You gotta wonder: does he actually care about truth-seeking debate or does he want to be seen by my large audience and get more fans? Same problem if you ask someone to debate, it's hard to tell why they're accepting. So you end up wasting time debating with people of lower quality, who are less interested in the truth, because it's harder to get accurate info about who wants to debate you in a good way for good reasons.


Howard Roark at 11:02 AM on November 10, 2019 | #14275 | reply | quote

I've made a tree of part of the discussion. Any objections or additions, Augustine?


curi at 1:15 PM on November 10, 2019 | #14277 | reply | quote

#14274

> You're mixing social-only and functional issues. This makes discussion positions less clear. Mumbling means it's hard to hear the words being said. Staring at the floor can mean not pointing your mouth towards the mic, and therefore also being hard to hear, but it depends on setup.

I don't think I am necessarily mixing them up because I don't think they are necessarily as separate as you might think.

The mumbling example is pretty clear cut. But other behaviors go beyond just being social-only and also have functional utility. As humans are social creatures we have learned certain behaviors to display the information we may not even be conscious of. When you extend your hand for a hand-shake is this social only? Well maybe, it may also tell you a lot of functional information, show that you are not holding a weapon, show that you have an understanding of social interactions and are competent. Are your hands clammy? Maybe you're nervous, why? Should I not trust you? Etc...

I think people underestimate things like "small talk" as socially useless, but I disagree. I think it says a lot about the person, it is like a practice run on whether this person has some level of competence in his abilities to socialize.

The line between functional and social only is blurry.

#14268

>> What social rule demands points to be made less clear?

>They mostly don't have names. An example is you're often supposed to say "I think" or some other hedge. I don't want to discuss an example of that first because it's too subtle and complicated. The Disney song is easier to analyze and is a better thing to try. You have to work your way up to analyze really subtle, complex human action.

curi I gotta say I am not satisfied with this response. I'll try to explain why. You said that certain social rules **demand** points to be made less clear. I don't think that saying "I think" is a social rule, and more importantly, I do not understand how it makes a pointless clear. If I state, "I think P is true" or "I am confident P is true" or simply "P is true." I do not get how "I think" makes P any less clear.

My attempt to analyze and give my honest opinion of these lyrics:

https://www.lyricsmania.com/go_the_distance_lyrics_disney.html

My first impression is a positive one. The person in this song is going on their hero's journey. They will go the distance to me means they will work hard until they reach their goal.

>I have often dreamed

Of a far-off place

Where a great warm welcome

>Will be waiting for me

This person is looking for a place (or perhaps a state of mind) where they feel welcomed for who they are.

> Where the crowds will cheer

When they see my face

And a voice keeps saying

This is where I'm meant to be

It looks like this person wants some social recognition and feels he is meant to have it.

>I will find my way

I can go the distance

I'll be there someday

If I can be strong

I know ev'ry mile

Will be worth my while

I would go most anywhere

To feel like I belong

I will find my way to me means he will look to overcome any obstacles in his adventure. If he has the strength to endure any difficulties, in the end, it will be worth it. He will do what it takes to earn that welcoming embrace he is looking for. Very inspiring.

>I will beat the odds

I can go the distance

I will face the world

Fearless, proud, and strong

I will please the gods

I can go the distance

Till I find my hero's welcome

Right where I belong

The place he is going is difficult, beat the odds means the chances are not good, but he is willing to face them without fear, with pride and strength. Please the gods, sounds superstitious but it could be interpreted as pleasing his highest values. He will earn his place, through his hero's journey.

After analyzing the lyrics I looked up the song, I enjoyed it. It is for the movie Hercules, which indeed is about a hero's journey to earn his place among the Gods. He has to work hard and face many hardships but eventually, he overcomes them.

It contains many archetypes of the hero's journey, touched by darkness, too much hubris, has to go to the underworld and rescue something of value, returns triumphantly.

This adds context to the lyrics. I would then change what I said about superstitious, but I was right that he is looking to please his highest value, eg a place among the gods.


Augustine at 4:36 PM on November 10, 2019 | #14280 | reply | quote

Formatting got messed up

#14280 I used https://stackedit.io/app# to preview how it would look and it still got messed up.


Augustine at 4:38 PM on November 10, 2019 | #14281 | reply | quote

#14281 Blockquotes here apply until the next linebreak. That editor's preview applies blockquotes until the next blank line (two linebreaks in a row).


Anonymous at 4:44 PM on November 10, 2019 | #14282 | reply | quote

#14280

> I think people underestimate things like "small talk" as socially useless, but I disagree.

*Do* people think that small talk is socially useless? I wouldn’t have thought that. It’s in the social realm that small talk serves a purpose.

> I think it says a lot about the person,

Yeah. If someone is skilled at small talk, there should be some red flags going up in your mind.

> it is like a practice run on whether this person has some level of competence in his abilities to socialize.

Why does that matter to you?

>>> What social rule demands points to be made less clear?

>> They mostly don't have names. An example is you're often supposed to say "I think" or some other hedge. I don't want to discuss an example of that first because it's too subtle and complicated. The Disney song is easier to analyze and is a better thing to try. You have to work your way up to analyze really subtle, complex human action.

> curi I gotta say I am not satisfied with this response.

Why did you start your sentence with “curi I gotta say”?

Words such as these often serve a social purpose. Starting a sentence with someone’s name adds a touch of condescension. And then the “I gotta say” conveys something like you’d prefer to not have to say this, but you can’t let this pass. Whatever has happened has crossed a line where you gotta come out and say the thing. It’s *that* bad (or good).


Kate at 7:12 AM on November 11, 2019 | #14283 | reply | quote

> Starting a sentence with someone’s name adds a touch of condescension.

...in a context such as this one where you are already directly talking to the person.

Writing from a third-person perspective, which could involve you stating your view of the situation to an audience, e.g. "curi then said X.", would be different.


Kate at 7:45 AM on November 11, 2019 | #14284 | reply | quote

Bit confusing.

#14283 I am sorry I actually don't know how to respond to you as it seems so off-topic, and I find your world view to be very different from mine.

Why would being friendly give out red flags, Why would addressing someone by their name be condescending? This seems quite different and at odds with how most people behave. I suppose depending on heavily on context and tone of voice, using someone's name could be interpreted as condescending. In the present scenario, interpreting condescension is honestly rather strange to me.

Btw, people find small talk useless(social or otherwise), it is a common trope on tv shows, movies, etc... "I hate small talk" is a common thing people say. However, I think it serves a functional purpose beyond socialization. Also, socialization is a good thing, it lets you work with others and cooperation is a good thing. You seem to be hostile to it. I actually enjoy meeting new people and learning about their stories. This seems very off-topic to me though but it is a branch of the conversation I guess I began by my response to anon, but he was talking about a mistake in the argument I presented. You seem to be arguing based on an interpretation of my response to curi. So you're worried about how I presented my argument, not the argument itself. Which funny enough, supports my position that learning presenting skills is important because if you're right, I came off as condescending.

I'll try to remember that you find being addressed by your name as condescending but that was not the intention. I don't mind being accommodating a bit to people's personal preferences within reason. But being condescending towards curi makes no sense, he has far more experience doing this than I have. This is a learning experience for me, but with that in mind I did find his answer unsatisfactory, and curi prefers honesty so I said so.

I am not sure if I am supposed to respond to someone when they veer this far off from the topic of discussion. I am still new at this. My approach is probably wrong in multiple ways.


Augustine at 10:17 AM on November 11, 2019 | #14285 | reply | quote

Social Rules that Demand Less Clarity

#14280

>>> What social rule demands points to be made less clear?

>> They mostly don't have names. An example is you're often supposed to say "I think" or some other hedge. I don't want to discuss an example of that first because it's too subtle and complicated. The Disney song is easier to analyze and is a better thing to try. You have to work your way up to analyze really subtle, complex human action.

> curi I gotta say I am not satisfied with this response. I'll try to explain why. You said that certain social rules **demand** points to be made less clear. I don't think that saying "I think" is a social rule, and more importantly, I do not understand how it makes a pointless clear. If I state, "I think P is true" or "I am confident P is true" or simply "P is true." I do not get how "I think" makes P any less clear.

For example consider the situation: You're at work. It's the designated "bring your kid to work" day. One of your colleagues brings his kid. Kid says he doesn't want to be there, is bored. Colleague says too bad, you gotta learn about the real world. Kid starts running around the office. Colleague yells at his kid to sit down and shut up. Kid tries to type on a computer, colleague yells at him not to touch anything.

P is "My colleague is being a total jerk to his kid. If this is any indication, he's a bad parent."

Social rules require P to be made very much less clear. Even adding "I think" or "In my opinion" to P isn't near enough. You're supposed to not say anything at all. If you do say something, you're supposed to be really indirect and suggest some alternative rather than comment directly on his parenting. Something that bears little resemblance to P, like "Hey, maybe your kid would like to have a look around the server room."

Socially, you're just basically never supposed to tell a colleague directly that he's a bad parent. Even if you think it. Even if it's true.

If it rose to the level of abuse where you thought the cops would do something then you are supposed to call the cops. Otherwise, you're not supposed to say he's a bad parent.


Andy Dufresne at 11:22 AM on November 11, 2019 | #14287 | reply | quote

#14285

>Why would being friendly give out red flags,

I said that being skilled at small talk should raise red flags. (I state some reasons that small talk is bad below.) Why did you imply that I said something much broader than what I had said?

>In the present scenario, interpreting condescension is honestly rather strange to me.

How should your words be interpreted? Why did you write "curi I gotta say"? (Both parts -- his name and the "I gotta say")

> Btw, people find small talk useless(social or otherwise), it is a common trope on tv shows, movies, etc... "I hate small talk" is a common thing people say.

Yes, but I don't think they hate it because it's socially useless, which is what you initially said. They rightly hate it because it's fake and it requires a huge mental strain and an orientation to what other people are thinking.

> Also, socialization is a good thing, it lets you work with others and cooperation is a good thing.

I think cooperation and communication with others are good. But I think you can have those things without e.g. being charismatic and skilled at small talk.

> So you're worried about how I presented my argument, not the argument itself. Which funny enough, supports my position that learning presenting skills is important because if you're right, I came off as condescending.

If I'm right, you came off as condescending and you didn't consciously know that you were doing that. Subconsciously, *you were considering factors other than the argument itself* in choosing which words to write.

This is different than someone who only cares about the content of his argument and his ability to state it clearly to other truth-seeking minds, and as a result he doesn’t make a socially-appropriate amount of eye contact during his presentation. Here his mind is in the right place. A socially-appropriate amount of eye contact doesn’t matter. In contrast, with you (and most ppl, including myself sometimes), your mind was not in the right place (if I’m right in my suspicion). And that’s *why* you wrote e.g. “curi I gotta say”.

Pointing out when we suspect that others are writing things for social reasons is a step towards helping people learn to catch themselves doing this. Then, they can switch focus and turn their mind solely to improving the content of their argument.


Kate at 11:58 AM on November 11, 2019 | #14288 | reply | quote

#14280 OK great, the song comments give me the info I was looking for. We have a big disagreement / different perspective about the song.

Also I think we should focus on one thing at a time more.

I think you interpret the song as they want to accomplish something and then also get social recognition for their accomplishment.

I read the song as saying they want social recognition as their goal, not as a side effect.

>> I would go most anywhere

>> To feel like I belong

>

> I will find my way to me means he will look to overcome any obstacles in his adventure. If he has the strength to endure any difficulties, in the end, it will be worth it. He will do what it takes to earn that welcoming embrace he is looking for. Very inspiring.

I read this as saying he will do things other than overcoming obstacles in order to get the belonging feeling. He'll do more or less anything for it. He would also e.g. give up on a goal if that's what society wanted. Or he'd believe Christianity instead of atheism in order to fit in. His priority is on conformity and he isn't willing to stand up to society's preferences about him.

He'd rationalize anything, blind himself to any truth, if that would get people to cheer and smile when they see him.

He doesn't have a specific goal. He isn't e.g. a painter. His goal isn't to make his paintings so beautiful that he earns recognition that way. His goal is to do anything to be socially accepted – he's putting that ahead of career goals. Other people's approval is his first priority.


curi at 1:17 PM on November 11, 2019 | #14289 | reply | quote

#14289 Great! But now what? I don't think this changes anything at all about my argument. Where do we go from here?

Also btw, my interpretation of the lyrics is closer to what actually happened in the movie than your interpretation. Idk if that helps in any way.


Augustine at 5:24 PM on November 11, 2019 | #14293 | reply | quote

#14293 Do you have any argument that my view of the lyrics is false?

I gave some explanation of why it's correct. You haven't argued with my text about the lyrics nor changed your mind. I think the next step is for that to happen.


curi at 6:06 PM on November 11, 2019 | #14294 | reply | quote

I feel like you're asking me to falsify something that is not falsifiable. In this case your interpretation to the lyrics of a song, stripped of its context. Songs mean different things to different people.

I think if you had the context of the movie too you might see it closer to my POV, maybe not. There is no way to say your interpretation is false though. but yea ignoring context makes little sense imo.

Look at these lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/weeknd/lostinthefire.html

Could you, without context, find the reference to the artist Drake there? Without context, I don't think you could find it.

This seems off track from my initial argument of making a true Statement P, and present it well.

I don't see how an analysis of a song gets us any closer to the truth. If I were to convince you that my interpretation is better, it would not change your mind about my argument. And neither would it change mine if you convinced me your interpretation is better. If anything, it would support my argument that learning how to present something is important too, not just what is presented.


Augustine at 6:33 PM on November 11, 2019 | #14295 | reply | quote

> I think if you had the context of the movie too you might see it closer to my POV, maybe not.

Re context: I think that both the movie & the lyrics are as curi describe the lyrics. It is conformity in both.

Have you read *The Fountainhead*? I'm guessing not, based on the interaction w J in th OP. Correct?

Are you somewhat familiar with Ayn Rand's concept of *second-handedness* through other sources?

If neither, getting familiar with this I think will give you context of where many ppl here come from re social & conformity.

Checking these links could be useful in if one is not familiar with SH:

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/second-handers.html

https://courses.aynrand.org/works/the-nature-of-the-second-hander/

http://justinmallone.com/2019/01/objectivism-part-ii-second-handedness/


N at 11:21 PM on November 11, 2019 | #14296 | reply | quote

#14295 This is similar to our discussion about interests. I think there is an objective truth of the matter which can be analyzed in unbiased discussion. I think perspectives and interpretations can be compared and criticized, and a conclusion reached rationally. You seem to be a relativist, skeptic, an advocate of multiple truths, or something.

Part of this issue is the standard: context matters. That means the right answer is "relative" to the context. I agree context should be taken into account. But the actual context doesn't change by person. There's just the one movie. My knowledge of the context is different than yours, just as my knowledge of reality, philosophical methods, and more, is different than yours. But if I miss something due to not knowing a piece of context, you can point it out and correct me, rather than us simply being stuck disagreeing (and vice versa).

One of the important principles for analyzing texts conclusively is a correct interpretation must account for every paragraph, every sentence, every word. We can go into further detail as needed to find places where some interpretations fail.

I think a good place to start, which is more of an overview, is:

You see the song as very roughly: he wants to go slay a monster and then go home and be valued for it. Right? I have a short argument to follow. Also let me know if some of the above doesn't make sense to you.


curi at 1:00 AM on November 12, 2019 | #14297 | reply | quote

> This is similar to our discussion about interests. I think there is an objective truth of the matter which can be analyzed in unbiased discussion. I think perspectives and interpretations can be compared and criticized, and a conclusion reached rationally. You seem to be a relativist, skeptic, an advocate of multiple truths, or something.

Similar but not quite the same. An interpretation can't be falsified. Let's say someone said (assuming they are genuine and not lying) that they interpret the song lyrics to mean finding the career they are the best fit to. Or someone interprets the lyrics to mean finding true love or something. You can't say these are false interpretations because it is how *they* interpreted it.

> You see the song as very roughly: he wants to go slay a monster and then go home and be valued for it. Right?

That is roughly how I interpret it yes. In addition, he wants a place that will accept him as he is because he is currently rejected for being so different.


Augustine at 9:34 AM on November 12, 2019 | #14298 | reply | quote

Interpretation isn't arbitrary. The question isn't how did Joe interpret it. The question is how *should* it be interpreted? What does it actually mean? What interpretation is reasonable or rational?

E.g. suppose Joe interpreted the song as saying that Trump should buy a helicopter. That's a false interpretation. The song doesn't say that.

Songs and other texts are often ambiguous. In that case, the correct interpretation is to say it's ambiguous: It could mean X, Y or Z but not A, B or C.

>> You see the song as very roughly: he wants to go slay a monster and then go home and be valued for it. Right?

> That is roughly how I interpret it yes.

What would he do if society said to him, "We don't want you to slay the monster. We want you to go take a photo of the monster then come home. We'll cheer and praise you for that. Do that and you have a place here, we'll accept you. But if you slay the monster, we'll boo you and reject you."


curi at 12:43 PM on November 12, 2019 | #14301 | reply | quote

A hero's journey

>Interpretation isn't arbitrary. The question isn't how did Joe interpret it. The question is how *should* it be interpreted? What does it actually mean? What interpretation is reasonable or rational?

What is the basis of what should be interpreted? Saying it is reasonable or rational could mean many things. What about the author of the song's intended meaning?

>What would he do if society said to him, "We don't want you to slay the monster. We want you to go take a photo of the monster then come home. We'll cheer and praise you for that. Do that and you have a place here, we'll accept you. But if you slay the monster, we'll boo you and reject you."

This doesn't make sense because the monster the hero is meant to slay is not something you take a picture and ignore. These stories are usually metaphors for real problems, the hero goes out to slay the dragon and bring back the gold is not a literal dragon nor literal gold. So the idea that he'd take a picture of said dragon and come back for social recognition doesn't make sense.

The idea is to go out and deal with the problem head-on, otherwise, these problems will become monstrous and unsurmountable. This is why the titans were heading toward the city to destroy it. IIRC

Think about it in modern terms. If you have a bill to pay, it is a tiny problem. If you ignore it, pretty soon it becomes a huge monster. Bill collectors, possible jail time, etc... It is best to tackle this problem head on right away, slay the dragon while he's in his cave vs when it comes to get you instead.

This is something Peterson advocates for btw. It is why he's not "pandering to the masses." He's actually saying things that are meaningful and important. Which is why there is endless stories of people "sorting themselves out" and dealing with their problems. Slaying their own dragons and getting the rewards. Such as getting off drugs, getting jobs and starting families etc... These are real results, unlike what a snake oil salesman would give you.

I think this interpretation tied with the context of the movie and our understanding of archetypal stories is more reasonable an interpretation than the equivalent of just getting likes on Instagram or something. Would you say that's basically what your interpretation comes down to?


Augustine at 4:56 PM on November 12, 2019 | #14302 | reply | quote

>> Interpretation isn't arbitrary. The question isn't how did Joe interpret it. The question is how *should* it be interpreted? What does it actually mean? What interpretation is reasonable or rational?

> What is the basis of what should be interpreted? Saying it is reasonable or rational could mean many things. What about the author of the song's intended meaning?

Knowledge creation works by guesses (aka brainstorming) and criticism. Interpretations are guessed and may be criticized. The author's intended meaning is something that can be brought up in a criticism (it can also brought up during brainstorming). In this case, the author's intentions aren't very important, what matters is what the song means to the millions of viewers. If 90% of people take it one way, but the author meant it a different way, the way people are taking it is the main thing that matters. Its cultural influence relates to how most people hear it.

A common type of criticism for interpretations of texts is that an interpretation ignores or contradicts a word in the text. Each word should be taken into account in some way.

>> What would he do if society said to him, "We don't want you to slay the monster. We want you to go take a photo of the monster then come home. We'll cheer and praise you for that. Do that and you have a place here, we'll accept you. But if you slay the monster, we'll boo you and reject you."

> This doesn't make sense because the monster the hero is meant to slay is not something you take a picture and ignore. These stories are usually metaphors for real problems, the hero goes out to slay the dragon and bring back the gold is not a literal dragon nor literal gold. So the idea that he'd take a picture of said dragon and come back for social recognition doesn't make sense.

People disagree about what are real problems and about what should be done about things (be they problems or not). So it does make sense and is actually how real life works routinely. Social recognition is often available for rationalizing, denying or covering up problems, while people who try to talk about and solve problems are often socially attacked.

The story of Galileo is an example.

Another example is Taleb claiming that it isn't millions of poor foreigners dying that's the monster, it's golden rice that is the real monster. So he's rationalizing brutal parts of the status quo. This got him a published paper with lots of coauthors. He's a successful author and stuff in general. https://curi.us/2242-taleb-is-wrong-killing-millions-actually-is-risky

Obamacare claimed that free market healthcare was the monster. What it actually did was feed the monster (the use of force to interfere in the market). That one is currently controversial but many, many people are very happy with that story and those actions.

Some people claim global warming is a monster, others claim the people raising the alarm and their proposals are the real monsters. There are other issues that are less controversial than global warming where the majority, or even literally everyone, is wrong. Examples of uncontroversial areas where people misidentify monsters are hard to give because I'd expect you to disagree with them (since I'd be claiming something that's approximately uncontroversially false). Certain cruel (IMO) parenting practices are examples, sorta – a lot of children disagree with some those parenting practices but their opinions kinda aren't counted.


curi at 2:04 PM on November 16, 2019 | #14351 | reply | quote

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